It is important to store vaccine properly according to the guidance of the manufacturer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Temperature excursions can potentially destroy potency of vaccine stock (especially if vaccines get too cold). If such vaccines are given to children, they will not be protected against disease.
Sufficient storage space is also needed for vaccines. If a vaccine refrigerator is packed too tightly, temperature fluctuations can occur and potentially make the flu vaccine and your other vaccine stock unusable. Some practices may want to consider a separate flu vaccine refrigerator to use just during flu season.
Influenza Vaccine Storage Basics
Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) should be stored between 2°C and 8°C (34°F and 46°F) and should not be frozen. IIV that has been frozen should be discarded.
LAIV should be stored between 2°C and 8°C (34°F and 46°F) and should not be frozen.
Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidance
The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit was updated January 2020. It includes CDC Recommendations for the storage and handling of vaccine. Some important recommendations include:
Use of a detachable probe in a thermal-buffered material (eg, glycol, glass beads), rather than measuring ambient air temperatures;
Use of continuous temperature monitoring devices (digital data loggers) with detachable probes that record and store temperature information at frequent programmable intervals for 24-hour temperature monitoring rather than non-continuous temperature monitoring. This applies to:
Maintain primary and back-up thermometers that meet the CDC data logger requirements, which include having:
a detachable temperature probe — a buffered probe is recommended and represents the vaccine temperature better than measuring the air temperature;
an alarm for out-of-range temperatures
low battery indicator
current, minimum and maximum temperature display
recommended uncertainty of +/-0 .5° C (+/-1° F)
logging interval (or reading rate) that can be programmed by the user to measure and record temperatures at least every 30 minutes
a current and valid Certificate of Calibration Testing
Use of purpose-built (eg, biological, pharmaceutical, medical-grade) storage units or stand-alone refrigerator and stand-alone freezer units suitable for vaccine storage rather than combination (refrigerator + freezer) or other units not designed for storing fragile biologics, such as vaccines;
Discontinuing use of dorm-style or bar-style refrigerator/freezers for ANY vaccine storage, even temporary storage;
Weekly review of vaccine expiration dates and rotation of vaccine stock and;
Assessment and record minimum and maximum temperatures at the start of each clinic day.
Tools and Resources